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QUEENSBURY — The new medical offices proposed at Northway Exit 18 will offer specialties that are “needed” in the area, a representative for the developer said.

Saratoga Hospital is expanding into the Glens Falls region with a new medical office, built by Columbia Development. The developer would own the building and lease it to physicians, who would be part of the Saratoga Hospital Medical Group.

The group has seen an increase in patients to the north of the hospital, and the location was chosen for that reason, Angelo Calbone, president and CEO of Saratoga Hospital, said in an emailed statement to The Post-Star.

The company is recruiting doctors now and a representative could not say exactly which specialties will be offered.

Columbia Development had a discussion with the Queensbury Planning Board this week on the project, which would replace the vacant Carl R’s café on Main Street. Board members said their biggest question is what medical services will be offered at the building.

“That would be something important for us to begin thinking about. Is there going to be medication, radiation, oxygen use?” said Chairman Stephen Traver.

Gavin Vuilaume, who presented the plans for Columbia Development, said he didn’t know.

“This will be something needed,” he said.

But he admitted that the medical providers in the area probably wouldn’t be pleased by the competition.

“They’re probably not going to want it,” he said.

The building has been designed to stand at the front of the parcel because architects initially thought the site was zoned “Main Street.” That zoning calls for buildings to be close to the road, and the nearby parcels are zoned that way.

But this parcel is actually zoned C1, for commercial development. So the company is seeking a variance to allow it to ignore the setback that is required in the commercial zone.

The front of the building will “look like a front” with sitting areas and windows, but it will not actually be the entrance, Vuilaume said. The entrance will be in the back, near the parking.

Columbia Development wants to build in 2019, he added.

“Once they have it fully occupied, that’s when they would pull the trigger and build it,” he said.

Since the company would be leasing space to physicians, the building will not be tax-exempt.

The company is also discussing the purchase of a sliver of town-owned land next to the site. That would become green space. Without it, the proposal does not meet the 30 percent green space requirement.

“We’re really hoping we can get this additional land. We can make the building work without it,” Vuilaume said.

Board members seemed receptive to the idea.

“What you’re proposing is a vast improvement over what’s there now,” Traver said. “It seems like a fairly straight-forward project.”

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You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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reporter - Health care, Moreau, Queensbury, South Glens Falls

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